Changes & Friendship coming for the SFG

Written by: Erin Beene
May 22, 2023 at Whiskey Nine for the 91 SFG Senior Leadership Farewell. Bidding goodbye to the 91 Squadron Commanders and their families.

PCS season is here again. The familiar comings and goings are what makes the military function. In a lifestyle where nothing is constant, the fact that life will change is the one thing that is for sure. This year marks a different sort of change for the 91 Security Forces Group. For the first time in recent history and since the expansion of the group in 2018, all four squadron commanders in the 91 SFG: Lieutenant Colonel Brett Skates 91 MSOS, Major Jeffrey Beene 91 MSFS, Major Zachary Hunt 791 MSFS & Major Chase Shields 891 MSFS, will be changing over command in the same year and season, which is a rare occurrence.

Air Force Ball, October 2022. The 91 SFG Commanders and their spouses huddle for a selfie.

This group of teammates and workers has created a special bond over the past few years in terms of working compatibility and friendships. Their families and spouses have grown close in many ways too. The Skates, Beene, Hunt & Shields families celebrated holidays together and shared life events. They leaned on each other when times got hard, and developed a friendship that will last a lifetime. The spouses worked together always had each other’s backs. Here’s what those who got to know this group of people and what they themselves had to say about the last two years in the SFG.

Command at any level is challenging and rewarding at the same time…It has been humbling to watch these four superstar officers lead their squadrons with passion and true leadership! They’ve absolutely left an indelible mark on the 91 MW and the SFG!”- Col Anthony McCarty, 91 SFG/CC

I was incredibly blessed to work with the leadership teams in the other three units. I can’t imagine a better tour in Minot with a different cast of characters—they made all the difference. The mission will continue and the new leadership teams will find their own way—it always works like that—but I think our two years was a bit unique and special.” – Lt Col Brett Skates, 91 MSOS/CC

The Beenes, Hunts, Shields and Skates celebrated New Years Day 2023 together and posed for a freezing photo outside together that they will never forget.

Leading men and women is a privilege, and I’m forever thankful for being afforded the privilege to command the Nine-One and I’m grateful for having been able to serve alongside some awesome commanders, senior enlisted leaders, and first sergeants! As a team of teams our units collaborated together and covered each other to execute an unceasing, unglamorous, yet high stakes mission, and I could not have asked for better companions along the journey.” – Maj Jeffrey Beene, 91 MSFS/CC

I will miss our camaraderie across the SFG Squadron Commanders. It is a rare and special opportunity to command with peers that endure identical challenges persistently through two to three years in command with a no-fail mission. The units have a fierce rivalry but have always come together to solve big problems when required. Testimony to this includes 4.5 feet of snow affecting us all, countless inspections, exercises and day-to-day operations.”- Maj Zachary Hunt, 791 MSFS/CC

As a new Security Forces commander two years ago, I appreciated the breadth of knowledge and experience that my fellow squadron commanders had and have learned a lot from them. Having peers who wear the beret, know the SF culture and how to take care of Defenders has been a great learning opportunity.” Maj Chase Shields 891MSFS/CC

To be honest, it’s little scary to have all four of them leaving at the same time. They’ve all done a great job of building their respective teams and I know the units won’t skip a beat, but losing four very good squadron commanders within ~6 weeks will present challenges. All four of them have done a great job of building unique teams that are all very high performing…while at the same time building some friendly competition between the units. I have no doubt they’ll continue to succeed as will the units they are leaving.” CMSgt Kenneth Broughman, 91 SFG

This group of Commanders is comprised of some of the best officers I’ve ever worked for and with. My commander is my wingman, and he will have left the squadron better than the way he found it and it’s up to us to keep the momentum going.” – SMSgt Nick Roberts, 91 MSOS/SEL

The friends gather for one last girls’ day out at the LOR Spa in May of this year.

Don’t look back. Leave what you have done and be proud of it. Everything is going to change and that is ok.” – Mrs. Dawn McCarty

Minot AFB is rather unique in the fact that we have a whole Group exclusively for Defenders. Watching all four command teams and their spouses use their individual strengths to not only support each other, but also Defender Airmen has been a delight.” – Mrs. Kira Hart

Having a team of women who were pretty much in the same boat as me in terms of our spouses’ work obligations, expectations and family commitment was a God-send for me! These women and families were just what I needed after the rough Covid years at our prior base. They helped me have someone to complain to, commiserate with and ask questions.” – Mrs. Erin Beene

These three years here have been amazing! Both sets of [group] commanders and spouses have made this assignment very enjoyable. It was my first time being involved in a Key Spouse program and I will help doing it from now on.” – Mrs. Nadine Hunt

At the annual “Witches Walk” hosted by the 791 MSFS in October 2021 Nadine Hunt, Erin Beene, Lauren Shields, Monique Skates and previous 91 SFG command spouse, Aimee Segars enjoy the festivities.

It’s been remarkable seeing the depths of leadership provided by our outgoing command teams. They have each set their units on a good glide slope for their incoming commanders and I am proud to have served with them. I wish them the best of luck in the future!”- Lt Col Jamie Hart, 91 SFG

We experience highs and lows together as spouses: middle of the night phone calls, shared successes, cheerleading squadron wins, running Key Spouse programs, helping take care of families and shoveling each other’s driveways when husbands were in the field. I’m glad I got to do all that with this group of women. We have become a family over the last two years and I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything!” – Mrs. Lauren Shields

My years here in Minot have been wonderful. I had the opportunity to fellowship with my neighbors, and attend a wonderful church in town, which brought my family closer to the Minot community. It is a great place for families and there is so much beauty to be discovered all over the state. The families and closeness of the SFG made our time here so memorable.” – Mrs. Monique Skates

One of the great joys in my role as an embedded True North Chaplain is that I have the privilege of working with our squadron commanders in the 91 SFG. While the four commanders departing the SFG are all different in many ways, one way in which they are all the same is in the way they have embraced the True North program and incorporated us into their squadrons. This chaplain will miss them and I wish them, and their precious families, the richest blessings in their future endeavors!” – Chaplain Brian Harris, 91 SFG

L-R: Lt. Col Jamie Hart, Col Anthony McCarty, Lt Col Brett Skates, Maj Chase Shields, Maj Zachary Hunt and Maj Jeffrey Beene enjoyed a working relationship that included respect and friendship, and laughter. Notice the smiles as the strike “Prom Pose” at the Air Force Ball in 2022.

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